With the prices of basic commodities — not to mention gasoline — increasing exponentially, it's good to think twice about spending your hard-earned money on grocery items. During this time, it’s wise to know a few simple tips on how to make the most of your bucks when you buy the essentials.
Here are ten (10) useful tips to keep your trips up the grocery aisle straight and true:
- The grocery list is all-important. Without it, chances are you will stray from the true purpose of your shopping. And, of course, once you have that list, stick to it.
- Plan that list weekly. A week is a good, round timetable to be planning around. Look at your refrigerator, cupboards, and stock rooms. If there’s anything you need and can’t find it, then it should be included in your weekly list.
- Don’t shop for groceries when you’re hungry. They say it works. Eat a full meal before visiting the supermarkets. This way, you can fight off that tendency to buy on impulse better.
- If you have that lists, then better have a budget to match that. You will develop this budget-list matching skill over time. At first, however, you will most likely overshoot that. In time, you will learn where the better deals are, so you get the items on your list, but actually spent less.
- Do the math before lining up at the cashier. Many shoppers plop everything in first before estimating what the total costs are. They end up overshooting their budget, which isn’t a surprise. It’s better to keep a rough running tally as you choose your items along. Your cellphones come with calculators, so use them.
- Write them down as you remember them. If you go to the grocery or market weekly, it would be much easier to jot down what needs to be bought as you remember them during the course of the week, rather than making a mental note to list these things down the day before you visit the groceries. That’s a sure recipe for regret.
- Do it like the hotels and restaurants do, which is to keep an inventory or stock of things in your ref or cupboards. As the stocks run out, you can indicate on your inventory the quantities consumed and remaining. It also gives you a pattern as to which items in your household are ‘fast-moving’ so you can make the necessary purchase adjustments in your next grocery trip.
- Stock-up on ready-to-eat food and emergency supplies. You won’t always be in the mood to concoct some elaborate dishes. And given the propensity of this country to stay in the path of many calamitous natural and man-made events, it would really help to have workable survival gear in the house. But don’t overdo it, lest you be suspected of hoarding.
- Many items are cheaper in bulk. So if you can afford to buy in bulk, do so. But be sure that you have also budgeted the period of time it will take to consume all of these items. It’s like loading up the cellphone. It’s useless to load up on PhP 1,500 worth of airtime in a month when you only consume PhP 1,000. The remaining PhP 500 expires and is forfeited.
- There’s wisdom in those receipts. So keep them. Those receipts will reveal to you the store’s pricing patterns over time, so you can compare prices of items in stores you visit at various periods or seasons. And who knows, with various government and in-store promos going on, you might end up leaving the supermarket with more money that you came in with.